The Fundamental Need to Fight America's Leaders' Obscene Preoccupation with War and Empire
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I know you will agree that as a country we are obscenely wasting billions of dollars every week in Afghanistan, and the Obama administration is hard-pressed to explain why.
A few weeks ago, journalist Chris Hellman, writing for Tomdispatch, calculated that the real annual military budget is $1.2 trillion -- an astounding number. This is an amount that would solve virtually every fiscal problem we have -- state budget shortfalls, health care, education, environmental protection and retirement for many, if we ever found the will to emphasize human priorities, instead of making war and dominating the globe.
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In our first appeals, we proudly emphasized our investigative work on the Koch brothers, the Tea Party and the right-wing coup in Wisconsin.
And many of the issues we cover are ongoing crises -- consumer ripoffs by phone and telecom companies, the erosion of people's rights, the incredibly high unemployment rate, rising health care costs, the destruction of our water supplies by fracking, the Right's constant attack on women's rights, and dozens more.
But we can't escape the giant elephant in the room, which is the destructive nature of American Empire -- our country's attempt to dominate the world with weapons and mega dollars. With an obscene amount of money going to war and the military, I have no doubt that our leaders -- Bush, and now Obama -- are destroying our country.
Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz estimates that we spend approximately $16 billion a month in Afghanistan, a number equal to the annual budget of the United Nations, or that of all but 13 of the U.S. states. The cost of a month in Afghanistan is roughly equivalent to 262,500 teachers; 1,995,000 children in daycare; annual health care for more than 5 million people --and this is just one month.
And the right-wing demagogues scream "we are broke." Hogwash. End the war, significantly cut the trillion-dollar military budget, and we would have plenty of money to take care of most everyone's needs, and still be one of the safest countries in the world.
Ladies and gentleman, stopping this excessive waste on military and empire is the challenge of our lives. If we can't change our priorities, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. We at AlterNet take up this fight each and every day. Nothing is more important. Your financial contribution will support a new Activism editor, and working toward dismantling the U.S. empire will be one of their highest priorities.
Please support our efforts to fight the militarization of our society and our future. If you’re fed up with hugely expensive wars that don’t make us safer and aren’t worth the cost, please make a contribution right now. Keep us focused on ending the morally and fiscally corrupt funding of the military, and the occupation of Afghanistan, which every day is squandering the future of our society.
Thank you for your attention and your commitment to a saner world.
Don Hazen is the executive editor of AlterNet.